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Normally I do not discuss tropical storms and hurricanes that much on Route 20 Weather because 9 years out of every 10 years, we usually dodge any tropical systems due to tropical systems heading either westward into the southeastern United States or northeastward into the open Atlantic well south of New England. This year, however, I am very concerned that we could see a tropical storm or hurricane either make a direct landfall on Southern New England or make a very, very close pass to the area. There are some credible reasons why I am raising the alarm. The big reason is because of the overall weather pattern we seem to be locked into so far this summer. There is a huge ridge of high pressure over the far western United States with a trough of low pressure centered around the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes region. This weather pattern has put Southern New England into a very moist, very humid southerly wind flow found on the eastern side of this trough. This is the reason for the extraordinarily heavy rainfall that the area has seen so far this month (As of this morning, I have received a little over 11 inches of rainfall so far this month here in Indian Orchard). This is a weather pattern that is very reminiscent of the summers of 1938 and 1955. Why is this an eyebrow raiser to me? Because both years saw significant impacts from a tropical system in Southern New England. 1938 with one of the strongest hurricanes to ever impact Southern New England (Struck on September 21st as a Category 3 hurricane with 120-130 mph sustained winds) with major damage found well inland in both Springfield and Worcester. I’ve studied the 1938 New England hurricane extensively and it really, really scares me to think of the damage that would occur if a similar hurricane impacted New England now. Most of, if not all of Southern New England would be without power for weeks – not days, weeks, if not months in some areas. In addition, the tree damage would be immense with tens of thousands of trees snapped or uprooted across all of Southern New England. A look at the weather history of 1938 reveals that the Summer was very wet, very humid and downright miserable. In fact, we are right now either breaking or tying rainfall records from July of 1938. The other year that seems to be a close match to this summer is 1955. That year saw impacts here in Southern New England from both Hurricanes Connie and Diane. Even though both hurricanes made landfall in eastern North Carolina, the extremely heavy rainfall from both storms combined with the extremely wet ground due to a very wet summer led to catastrophic flooding across Southern New England. Even though there isn’t much you can do now because we don’t even know if there’s definitely going to be a tropical storm or hurricane impact in August or September in Southern New England, I do recommend to keep track of tropical activity this season more than you usually would. Also, perhaps you should review the many Hurricane Preparedness websites that are out there – just in case. There are two types of tropical systems that can impact Southern New England that you should be aware of. The first is the tropical system that initially forms near the Bahamas and is pulled northward by a trough of low pressure to the west. Unfortunately, these types of tropical systems do not give us much time to prepare (usually 2 to at most 3 days). This is the type of track Hurricane Carol took in late August of 1954 and the type of track Hurricane Bob took in mid August of 1991. The second type of track to keep an eye on is the long track storm that initially forms way out by the west coast of Africa and takes up to 2 weeks to cross the Atlantic. This is the type of tropical system that gives us plenty of notice that it is on the way. Hurricanes that have impacted New England that took this type of path include the 1938 Hurricane and Hurricane Gloria (late September of 1985). Please realize that everything that I have written today is not meant to scare you. Instead, it is meant to prepare you and inform you of what may be in store as we head towards August and September. Remember this quote - “Be prepared rather than scared”. With my forecasts and updates, you will have more than enough warning of any incoming tropical systems that may impact Western and Central Mass. You will not be caught under warned with us and in fact you will probably be “over warned” with my updates.

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Another Round Of Possible Strong To Severe Thunderstorms Is Expected A Little Later This Afternoon: A warm front is currently lifting northward through Southern New England right now. Along its boundary are some heavy showers and some thunderstorms that are beginning to develop. Two thunderstorms of concern right now are located near the New York-New Jersey border and the other now entering southwestern Connecticut. These storms are already exhibiting signs of rotation and I think this is going to be a real concern with any additional thunderstorms that develop this afternoon into this evening. I think that these thunderstorms will reach Western Mass by about the 4 to 5 pm time frame and gradually push into Central Mass by about the 7 to 8 pm time frame. Any storms that become severe will contain wind gusts of up to 60 mph, extremely heavy rainfall and very frequent lightning. Also, a couple of the most severe storms will have the potential to produce a tornado or two. Extremely Heavy Rain With The Threat For Flash Flooding Late Tonight Until Mid-Afternoon Friday: Extremely heavy rain and embedded thunderstorms associated with Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to overspread Western and Central Mass by about 4 to 5 am Friday morning and then continue throughout Friday morning into the first half of the afternoon on Friday. The forecast track of Tropical Storm Elsa will take it across southeastern Mass, which will put Western and Central Mass right into the extremely heavy rainfall quadrant of the storm. Any strong winds of up to 50 to 70 mph in gusts will be confined to southeastern Mass, the Cape and the Islands. No strong winds associated with Elsa are expected across Western and Central Mass. The signals are extremely strong for A LOT of rain in a very short period of time. Widespread total rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected across Western and Central Mass with isolated amounts of up to 5 to 6 inches possible. Given the immense amount of rain our area has received in just the last 8 days (I have received almost 8 inches of rain since July 1 here in Indian Orchard), the flash flood threat is extremely high. I urge everyone to be ready for the flash flooding of streams and small rivers. In addition, urban and poor drainage flash flooding is also expected. The rain from Elsa is expected to end from west to east during the mid-afternoon hours of Friday and a fairly decent weekend is expected in terms of weather. Saturday looks sunny with high temperatures between 75 and 80 Degrees and Sunday looks partly sunny with high temperatures of near 80 Degrees. I am closely monitoring both the severe weather threat this afternoon into this evening and also the flash flood threat from Elsa and will have updates as needed.

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Weather analysis indicates that a stationary currently extends from near southern New Hampshire and southern Vermont westward to near Lake Erie. To the south of this front, the air is hot, humid and very unstable across all of Western and Central Mass. The combination of the forcing of this front and the unstable air mass will lead to another round of strong to severe thunderstorms across Western and Central Mass between about 4-5 pm this afternoon and about midnight tonight. Thunderstorms are now developing across eastern and central New York State. These storms are expected to expand eastward into Western and Central Mass by late this afternoon with at least a couple of rounds of thunderstorms expected through the first half of tonight. Strong wind gusts of up to 60 to 70 mph is likely to be once again the main threat with any severe storms late this afternoon through the first half of tonight. In addition, given the very humid air mass that will be in place, extremely heavy rainfall with localized street flooding will also be a threat. Finally, very frequent lightning will also occur with all of the thunderstorms that occur late this afternoon and tonight. If that wasn’t enough, it appears that we will probably have another round of thunderstorms during Thursday afternoon into Thursday night as a warm front lifts northward across the area. Some of these thunderstorms may be on the strong to severe side with strong wind gusts of up to 50 to 60 mph. In addition, a tornado or two is also a possibility as there is likely to be more spin in the atmosphere on Thursday. Finally, I am closely watching Tropical Storm Elsa, which has made landfall in northern Florida. It is expected that Elsa will move northeastward and pass across eastern and southeastern Mass during the day on Friday. For Western and Central Mass, this type of track means that heavy rainfall with embedded thunderstorms will be the main threat, especially on Friday morning. Rainfall amounts on Friday look to average between about 1 to 2 inches with locally higher amounts. Any strong winds with Elsa is expected to be confined to the Cape.

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